Gifts of health are becoming a delightful new trend and teas now rank high on the list of products gifted to family and friends. The taste of each variety is unique and much comes down to the personal preference of the consumer.
For gifting the popular choice is for sampler sets of a variety of blends. This adds a flare of excitement to the gift and insures that there will be something in there for everyone. So let's take a little peek at the varieties you may be tempted to wrap up for a friend.
A fairly new addition to supermarket shelves is white tea and it has quite a few people confused as to the difference between it and the old standby teas. White tea leaf can be a little more expensive due its high quality, exceptional health benefits, and mild flavor compared with Black, Green, or Oolong varieties but oh so worth the savoring.
The Differences Which Make These Tea Unique
White, green, oolong and black tea are all created from the leaves of camellia sinensis plant. It is the method by which each of these is processed that creates the unique differences in taste and health benefits of each.
Herbal teas are very different from the other four varieties. Herbal blends although generally still a healthy beverage, they are not created from the camellia sinensis plant so are not true teas such as the white, black, green, and oolong are.
The herbal beverages are as their name suggests, created from blends of herbs, fruit, berries, and spices.
White and Green have More Antioxidants than Black Tea
Our traditional black tea is fermented while green tea is steamed rather than fermented so as to allow the leaf to retain the majority of the polyphenols and antioxidants within it. The processing of Oolong lies somewhere in the middle of the way in which the green and black teas are processed.
White tea is most similar in its processing method to green tea but what makes white tea truly unique is the period within which it is picked. For white tea the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant are picked and harvested before the leaves of the plant are fully open.
The picking occurs at a time when the young buds of the plant are still covered in a fine white hair and hence is the reasoning why white tea is the name given to the tea leaves derived from this special picking. White tea leaves are much rarer than other tea leaves and for this reason can also be much more expensive. White tea leaf is also considered to be the highest quality available to consumers.
Catechin concentrations are highest in unbroken unfermented tea leaves. As these are the main component of white tea the antioxidant content surpasses even that of green teas for the health benefits that it can provide. Studies also suggest that white tea contains a higher level of gallic acid and theobromine than do other varieties.
A Gift of Healthy Distinction
There are Four Distinct Quality Grades Of White Tea
White tea is classed into four distinct groups. The highest quality is known as Silver Needle and this leaf is made from only the white buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant.
The next highest ranked category is White Peony and it is comprised of both the unopened leaves and young buds of Camellia Sinensis plant.
Long Life Eyebrow is the next category of white tea and it is made from the remaining leaves after the first two higher grades of leaf and bud have been removed.
The lowest category of white tea is referred to as Tribute Eyebrow. Although the lowest of the grades it is still a beverage higher in antioxidants and other health benefits than black, green, or oolong.
Some varieties of white tea bear the name of the area in which they are produced. Darjeeling Tea is one of these brands and it derives its name from where it is produced in India.The majority of white tea is currently produced within China and Japan. It is important to note that the name identifying where the leaves are picked is not a reference to its grade. Only the four specific grades are indicative of the white tea's quality.
White is Delightfully Milder Than Green
One of the most noticeable differences between green tea and white is the flavor. Green has a bitter or grassy taste to it while the white tea does not.
The sweeter more subtle flavor of white tea makes it much more pleasurable to consume. Another benefit to this delightful beverage is that it usually contains even less caffeine than green tea which was previously known to be one of the lowest caffeinated teas available.
Another significant difference between green and white tea is that the white variety contains less fluoride than does the green. Other than the current high price tag it sports, the white leaf variety is currently one of the most excellent health beverage choices for consumers today.
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